The majestic Mt. Apo, the country's highest peak, situated in Central Mindanao. (Photo courtesy of Sta. Cruz Tourism Facebook Page)

DAVAO CITY – Closed to the public in the past three months, the Mount Apo Natural Park (MANP) resumed trekking and mountaineering on the country's highest peak, an official said Tuesday.

Julius Paner, Sta. Cruz town tourism officer, said MANP immediately welcomed trekkers from the United States, Germany, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, and South Africa when it resumed operations on Sept. 1.

The closure was pursuant to MANP-Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) resolution prohibiting all trekking and camping on trails within the Davao Region for the off-season period.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Davao Region (DENR-11) said the annual off-season gives way to its rehabilitation and allows fauna species in the natural park to breed without disturbance.

“The magnet of Davao Region in the foreign market is the Mt. Apo. It is the best asset the region has in terms of outdoor activity,” Paner said in a press briefing here.

He said they will allow at least 35 climbers from Monday to Thursday and 50 from Friday to Sunday.

Mt. Apo's six trails can be accessed via Sta. Cruz, Bansalan, and Digos City, all in Davao del Sur, and Kidapawan, Makilala, and Magpet in North Cotabato.

“They can always book with our accredited tour operators or visit our tourism office for bookings, and we can refer them to the tour guides,” Paner said.

He also reiterated that pork-related foods are not allowed to enter Sta. Cruz trail due to threats of African swine fever (ASF).

“It is already an ordinance, and we discouraged them to bring any pork-related menu. We are afraid ASF to penetrate Mt. Apo because we have Philippine warty pigs in the area,” he added. (PNA)